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AMERICAN CARS SELLING WELL IN CHINA

American cars are selling well in China this year after months of sluggish sales related to an overall lack of demand, a state-run newspaper reports.

An increasing number of Chinese are favoring U.S.-made cars, Chen Ping, vice president of the government's China Trade Center for Imported Automobiles, told the China Daily. Japanese cars have dominated China's car imports.Ford Tempo and General Motors Chevrolet Corsica have been popular, Chen said, predicting that some models will soon sell out. He attributed their popularity to price, after-sales service and parts availabili ty.

The Chinese government bought 7,000 vehicles from the United States in 1992 and has since ordered 12,400 more. But many of the vehicles stood unsold in warehouses last year as sales of both domestic and imported autos slumped.

The slump was caused in part by government directives to cut back on unnecessary spending, particularly for cars. Industry analysts say the U.S. share of the Chinese car market is expected to increase.

With import taxes of between 110 and 150 percent on imported cars and a 10 percent purchasing fee, the total cost of an American car ranges from 200,000 yuan to 300,000 yuan, or $24,000 to $36,000. That's about the same as the price on Chinese-made cars and imports from other countries, the newspaper said.